Fortunately, I still have most of my hair on my head. Sure, I've watched as no small amount of it has washed down my shower drain or found its way onto my jacket, but for the most part, my hair has stayed right where it belongs--firmly attached to my head.

Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone. Researchers say that 40 percent of men experience a noticeable loss of hair by the age of 35, and 65 percent by the age of 60. And women aren't immune--approximately 40 percent of women also suffer hair loss. These facts have long spurred a search for a cure for baldness, and the global hair loss treatment industry is worth $2.8 billion.

But what if eating something as simple as McDonald's french fries could reduce or even reverse hair loss? According to a newly announced study by Japanese researchers, this could very well be the case.

Professor Junji Fukuda of the Yokohama National University just published a paper in the journal Biomaterials announcing the discovery of a new method for the mass preparation of hair follicle germs (HFGs) that "may lead to a new treatment for hair loss." A key ingredient in this new method is a chemical by the name of dimethylpolysiloxane (DMPS), which just happens to be an ingredient in the oil that McDonald's uses to cook its French fries and other fried food.

McDonald's doesn't exactly promote this fact in the list of french-fry ingredients on its website--in fact, it's contained in small print on the bottom of the page:

"Our fried menu items are cooked in a vegetable oil blend with citric acid added as a processing aid and dimethylpolysiloxane to reduce oil splatter when cooking."

That might be because dimethylpolysiloxane is a kind of silicone that is the main ingredient in the popular children's toy Silly Putty. Oh, and caulks, adhesives, aquarium sealant, breast implants, and cosmetics.

But now that this ingredient in McDonald's cooking oil has been found to promote hair growth (at least in rats), perhaps the company will put it front and center in its marketing.

Or maybe not. Time will tell.